One of the top-performing markets for U.S. beef and pork in 2014 has been South Korea, where exports have posted strong year-over-year gains. Beef exports to Korea in the first half of the year totaled 56,478 metric tons – up 11 percent from a year ago – valued at nearly $380 million, up 40 percent. On the pork side, first-half exports were up 31 percent in volume (77,209 metric tons) and 48 percent in value ($236.3 million).
Dan Halstrom, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for marketing and communications, explains that although the U.S. industry has come a long way in combating misperceptions among Korean consumers about the safety of U.S. beef, this is still an ongoing challenge. Marketing branded U.S. beef products has been a helpful strategy in Korea, because consumers like the fact that they are able to learn more about the origin and unique attributes of these products at the point of sale.
Halstrom notes that U.S. pork is performing well in Korea despite an influx of European pork into the market. Pork from the European Union has been shut out of the Russian market (traditionally the EU’s largest export destination) since January, which has led to lower prices and more aggressive marketing in Korea by European suppliers.